From the lyrics of “America”:
“O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.”
Back then I was just a little kid. Family barbecues, laughter, horse shoe tossing, water sprinklers and hot summer sunshine was the norm. Of course many of us did not realize all the events that were happening all around us…
In ‘76, the average annual income was a whopping $16,000 … okay, not really whopping but given the fact that new homes cost roughly $43,000 and a gallon of gas was just $0.59, 16k might have went a long way. Ah… the 1970s was the decade where the middle class finally began to blossom. In fact, in 1976 the bottom 99 percent share of wealth was overwhelmingly in favor of “us” as in “the people” of these United States with a 80.1 percent stronghold of distributed wealth. The top one percent (the uber-wealthy) only held 19.9 percent of the share of wealth back then. No wonder there were so many community and backyard barbecues. Families could afford it then. The economy was on the mend…
The real American Freedom Train made its tour across the contiguous 48 States to signify the Bicentennial. The US was at its peak and ready to find its wings and soar. Enter in 2011 … 35 years later and one must wonder what happened to that time of innocence, passion, and uninhibited zeal for freedom and independence.
Today, the average cost of a new home is over $230,000 and a gallon of gas? Over three dollars. Average income of employees in the largest retail company in America…and the world? $250 weekly. That is less than the average income in 1976. Sometimes we have to take a look at our past to understand and remedy the present … and the future. As America entered its teen years, we were ready to take on the world…ready to become a Nation of pride, peace and prosperity for all walks of life. Somehow, when we took our first flight, the super wealthy clipped our wings and our fall has certainly been from grace.
No wonder I always find myself humming to the sounds of the 70s. It marked a turning point in history where equality was finally coming to fruition. The middle class and the bottom 99 percent were finally getting their retribution. We may be 35 years late…but it is better late than never; we can still turn it around America! To mark this reflective Independence Day, I share with you a song from Paul McCartney and Wings…maybe all we need is a little luck and a little love …after all, there is no end to what we can do together!
Spirit of 76: 35 Years Later
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